There is a small carpark at the end of our street which services a small local shop, a breakfast bar (chips, pies and bacon sandwiches for the early morning workers), an Asian supermarket, a Thai restaurant and nestled improbably in between all of them, a hairdressers.
It is a one-way carpark, because it is quite long and narrow, so the council, in their wisdom, painted car parking bays in long, white diagonal slashes and made the carpark one way. This worked fine and people would drive in at one end and park, grab their take away or their haircut and drive out the other end happy.
But just a little wisdom is never enough for a local council, especially at the end of the financial year, so as we approached April two years ago and the end of June (which is when the financial year ends in Australia) loomed, they looked around for ways to get rid of their remaining budget and decided that nothing would do the trick better than a row of fence posts to mark the boundary between the carpark and the pavement.
They duly planted them, tall and black, like a row of bad teeth. They had the double effect of looking horrendous and shrinking the already limited spaced to reverse a car out of bay, swing it towards the exit and drive off.
As a result, since the day they have been planted, they have been the cause of more damage to local cars then possibly anything else in the area – and I include recently qualified drivers in that list. Countless numbers of residents, many of whom are driving large vehicles to accommodate their tools as they drive to a work site in the morning, have pranged their vehicles by backing into the posts while trying to get out of the parking bays and holding a pie, or admiring their new haircuts in the rear view mirror.
I can not think of anyone who has a decent thing to say about these posts and I think one night bandit spoke for many people who try and get in and out of what used to be a perfectly serviceable carpark when he drove a four wheel drive deliberately through them at two in the morning and mowed them all down.
Each time one or more of the posts gets thumped, they are not just toppled, they are uprooted, with huge pats of Tarmac being pulled up with them, as if they have been planted and grown roots in the short time they are left in place before someone hits them again. Each time it happens, the council sends a group of men in Hi Vis clothing out to replant them until the next time it happens. I have been watching this cycle repeat itself for over two years. At no point has the council ever thought to move the posts one foot out into the pavement, despite the fact that the pavement is about double the width of a standard pavement along the length of the carpark.
I was reminded of a lecture I went to when we were asked to imagine that we were in a car and to mime moving our foot to apply the brake.
‘You discover that that brake has not worked,’ said the lecturer, ‘What do you do?’ As a group we all mimed pumping the brake pedal in a futile attempt to apply it, not believing what our original action had confirmed – that it was not working.
My husband sometimes asks me why I continue to sit hunched over my iPad every night, posting one blog a day. The answer is I do not know, but however pointless it all is, I continue in the hope that my posts are never going to be quite as pointless as the ones at the bottom of my street.